News from around our 50 states

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Montgomery: The state’s top health official said Friday that he and his colleagues are “intensely frustrated” as COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise, a surge he partly attributed to people who have refused to get vaccinated or change their behavior. The state is grappling with an intensive care unit bed shortage, and federal medical teams and mobile morgue units have been sent to hospitals in the South. “We are really in a crisis,” Health Officer Scott Harris said during his Friday briefing. “We’ve said that over and over for several weeks. We need people to understand that you, yourself – if you’re hearing these words – you’re the person who’s going to make a difference. You need to be responsible for your behavior. You need to do what it takes to not continue this situation. I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to do this.” Alabama ranks fourth for new cases per capita and continues to have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. “So much of what we’re seeing is preventable,” Harris said. “We’re seeing this because people don’t want to get vaccinated, and they don’t want to change their behavior. They would rather have an argument about masks than have an argument about how we keep our children safe or how do we protect Alabama hospitals. It is very frustrating for all of us.”